Paddy Power Gold Cup weights revealed
Grands Crus has been allotted 11st 6lb for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 17.
Last Updated: 07/11/12 2:30pm
David Pipe's charge, the general favourite for the extended two and a half mile Grade Three handicap chase, enjoyed a superb first season over fences last term that included a facile victory in the Grade One Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton.
The Keiran Burke-trained Hunt Ball has also been given 11st 6lb following a stunning novice campaign that included an emphatic win in the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase at The Festival.
Fellow second-season chaser Micheal Flips (10st 8lb) is set for the race after coming home fifth under top-weight on his seasonal return for trainer Andy Turnell in a two mile, one furlong handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday (November 3).
Micheal Flips went down by two lengths to For Non Stop (11st 11lb) in a Grade One novices' chase at Newbury in February and came home fourth behind the current favourite for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, Sir Des Champs, in the Grade Two Jewson Novices' Chase at The Festival in March.
Turnell revealed: "Micheal Flips is a definite runner for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, all being well. I thought that he ran all right at Ascot on Saturday - he was carrying a lot of weight and the trip was a bit sharp for him. He will be better for the run and it should put him spot on for Cheltenham.
"His good form last season was very good. His second to For Non Stop looks very good now and he seemed to run consistently well without setting the world alight.
"He made one error with his jumping on Saturday but he jumped pretty well otherwise and he seems more confident over his fences now."
Poquelin (11st 12lb) heads the weights for the contest for a third successive year. The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old has won five times at Cheltenham and was second to The Giant Bolster on his latest appearance at the home of Jump Racing in the Grade Three Murphy Group Handicap Chase in January.
A total of eight entries from Nicholls also features Cristal Bonus (11st 6lb), who was an easy winner of a Grade Two Chase at Down Royal on November 3, recent Kempton graduation chase scorer Ghizao (10st 13lb), Aerial (11st 4lb) and Grade One winner Al Ferof (11st 8lb).
Other notable contenders include the Nicky Henderson-trained pair of course and distance scorer Nadiya De La Vega (10st 8lb) and the 2011 second Quantitativeeasing (11st 4lb), last season's RSA Chase fifth Walkon (10st 6lb) and Jewson Novices' Chase runner-up Champion Court (11st 4lb).